Transportation package advances with a problematic addition. The proposed $16-billion transportation package continues to progress through the Legislature, but not without significant twists and turns.
The latest (as of press time) twist is a proposal by House Transportation Committee Chair Jake Fey to replace the export tax on fuel – which has become increasingly unpopular – with a swipe of the Public Works Assistance Account (aka Public Works Trust Fund) to provide a significant share of the transportation package.
AGCW immediately opposed that move. In a joint letter to House members, AGC and NUCA raised serious concerns. “For decades, we have been staunch supporters of the PWAA,” the letter said. “After all, it helps provide work for our members and their workers throughout the state, from the West Eagle Harbor Sewer Complex on Bainbridge Island to the Wastewater Plant Upgrade project in Walla Walla. It seems incongruous to us to move money that supports infrastructure at one level of government to fund infrastructure projects at another level. We are concerned that the transfer of funds won’t create additional jobs, but rather swap capital projects from local governments to the state.”
AGC and NUCA is hopeful that the package will continue to advance but will continue to urge other revenue options – such as more funding from the general fund which has a large surplus of funds – without the raid on the PWAA. It is believed that Senate Democrats are not particularly enamored with the PWAA raid and are considering other options.
Also, Republican leaders are announcing their own approach to transportation later today (Tuesday, March 1).
The situation remains fluid, with little more than a week left in the legislative session.